Battle of the Brit Ginger Beers

The contestants: Old Jamaica Ginger Beer and Idris Fiery Ginger Beer

There are lots of reasons to drink ginger beverages. For one thing, they're one of the few drinks that use an actual natural flavor rather than artificial flavor. That's because no one has synthesized a convincing ginger flavor yet. Raw ginger is relatively cheap, and so potent that a little goes a long way.

On the left, Old Jamaica Ginger Beer; on the right, Idris Fiery Ginger Beer

Another reason to drink it is that ginger has medicinal properties; next to cannabis, it's one of the world's great anti-nausea agents, which is why parents give it to children with upset stomachs. A third reason lies in the making of shandies -- as usually defined, drinks featuring an equal proportion of ginger beverage and beer.

American ginger ale, despite the stronger-sounding name, is a much weaker form of ginger beer. Today we pit against each other two English ginger beers. In the yellowish can decorated with a golden helix on its cylindrical surface is Old Jamaica Ginger Beer. In the bright red can stands Fiery Ginger Beer, whose slogan is, "Try me if you dare." Indeed.

Actually, both ginger beers are weak compared with Jamaican ginger beer made by D & G in Kingston. As it turns out, Old Jamaica Ginger Beer is made by a licensee of D & G. For English tastes, the product is not nearly as strong. Here are the tasting notes.

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